.

Ex-Weezer Bassist Mikey Welsh Dies

Forty year-old found dead in Chicago hotel room

October 9, 2011 3:05 PM ET
2001 mikey welsh san francisco weezer
Mikey Welsh performs with Weezer in San Francisco.
J. Shearer/WireImage

Former Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh was found dead in a Chicago hotel room on Saturday, October 8th. Staff at the Raffaello Hotel discovered the body when Welsh, 40, failed to make his 1PM checkout. No foul play is expected and the cause of his death is still unknown. In an eerie tweet dated September 26th, Welsh wrote, "dreamt i died in chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today."

Welsh first linked up with frontman Rivers Cuomo in Boston in 1997, when Weezer was officially on hiatus, and the two played together in Homie (unofficially referred to as the Rivers Cuomo Band by fans). Welsh was offered a full-time position in Weezer after bassist Matt Sharp defected from the band in 1998. The group recorded some demos that year, but internal frustrations led to a further period of inactivity.

Welsh made his live debut with Weezer when they returned to the stage in the summer of 2000 for a string of festival dates, including a run on the Warped Tour. Shortly thereafter they recorded their third album, Weezer (more popularly known as the Green Album), which yielded the hits "Hash Pipe" and "Island in the Sun." It would be Welsh’s only album with the band.

Welsh quit Weezer in 2001 for vague reasons, which were later revealed to be a nervous breakdown amid other mental health issues. In August of that year he sought treatment in a psychiatric hospital, following a possible drug-assisted suicide attempt.

Welsh successfully launched a second artistic career, transforming into a visual artist with some degree of success. His work appears on Burton snowboards and an album cover by the band Twin Berlin."When he emerged from his nervous breakdown that spelled his exit from the rock ‘n’ roll world, he took on a new role as an astonishing and pure visual artist," reads a statement on Weezer’s official website. "It was a glorious flowering of a talent he always possessed, but he had chosen to rock out first, paint later."

Welsh had planned to catch Weezer’s show at the RIOTfest in Chicago on Sunday (October 9th). "While we wont see him, we know he will be there rocking out with us!" reads the band statement.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com